What if every time you ate something you had such severe stomach pains, you ended up cramped-up on the floor? You were hungry, but knew what was coming after you ate lunch. Pain. You wanted to go to the doctor, but you said to yourself, “I’m poor, I know I can’t afford it.” Unfortunately, this is the harsh reality for many adults and children living in India.
7-year-old Mani arrived at our Medical Camp complaining of severe stomach pains. The faces of his parents looked tired and worn out, but there was still a small spark of hope in their eyes. They had tried everything – even going to a hospital, but since it was very far away and the medicine expensive, they had to abandon this plan. Mani’s mother also tried herbal remedies that several of her well-meaning friends had suggested for stomach problems. Nothing worked. So here they were, standing in line waiting to see the doctor. It was their last hope.
Colorful saris like beautiful flower petals line the way into our clinic.
They had arrived in the late morning and it was now almost noon. Almost their turn. It was hot and dusty and Mani’s mother brushed some dirt from her colorful sari and smoothed back some stray locks from her face. Her husband interrupted her grooming and said “Finally, we are next!” Shuttling their young son ahead of them, they came in to the examining room and met the doctor and his assistants. Everyone seemed helpful and friendly, and they felt relieved to finally be getting treatment for their son, and hopeful for a good outcome.
Tests were taken and given to lab technicians who came back with the results: intestinal parasites!
Often referred to as intestinal helminthes (a type of intestinal parasite, such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms), they reside in the human gastrointestinal tract and are one of the most prevalent forms of parasitic disease. Children are particularly susceptible due to their incomplete development, decreased immunity and lower standards of hygiene. Populations in the developing world are at particular risk for infestation with parasitic worms; the parasites often finding their way into the “host” through contaminated food or water.
The nurse dispenses the medication.
Mani and his parents were so overjoyed that the problem was discovered, and more importantly, that they were being given medicine and told that in two weeks, their son would be completely free of the parasitic worms!
This was a family who walked home that day clutching a small bottle of medicine in their hands, with hope in their hearts.
Mani’s look says it all: Children often idolize those in authority that help them, such as doctors!
Our Medical Camps are held in rural areas of India reaching out to the poor who would otherwise not have access to medical help. In one single day, our doctors and nurses can treat up to one hundred patients or more. People are given free immunizations and medications to help prevent and treat illnesses, such as Mani’s. A local pastor also attends the Medical Camps and shares the love of Jesus Christ to the patients who receive care.
You can help sick children learn more about Jesus and get the treatment they desperately need by supporting our Medical Camps in India.